Crack Attack!- San Diego Home Inspection Did you ever stop and think of all the cracks we Inspectors see on a daily basis? It's enough to crack you up! I even count cracks in my sleep at night!
Cracks are complex creatures and are often misunderstood. Every crack, whether large or small, needs to be evaluated by a set of trained eyes. Over the next several weeks, I'll be posting a series of "crack" articles. Let's begin!
Many of my home inspection clients ask me about thin cracks at the corners of doors or windows, or along drywall joints. Every home moves (however slightly) whenever the wind blows, the soil expands and contracts, the earth shakes, or simply from the home's weight load. Homes have certain stress points, and when this movement occurs, these settlement cracks may appear in the walls or ceilings at these locations. These cracks can be repaired, but are likely to reappear after a short while. They are usually insignificant and do not necessarily mean the home has a structural deficiency. Plaster is much less forgiving than sheetrock, and will usually have cracks that are more defined.
If cracks are seen in a repetitive directional pattern, or are heavy, well-defined cracks, they may indicate structural movement and should be closely examined.
Stucco is a cementious product. Concrete shrinks and cracks when it dries. Thin check-cracking is very often seen in stucco siding at the corners of doors and windows. These cracks generally should not intimidate you. Many people are not aware that stucco itself is not waterproof. The waterproof barrier and drainage plane of a stucco system is actually the building paper behind the stucco, so the presence of these cracks does not mean water intrusion will occur. Applying caulk to these cracks will not accomplish much, other than to draw people's attention to the them!
Stucco is required to be at least 7/8" thick. If adequate thickness is not maintained when applied, excessive cracking may occur. Stucco cracks that are seen in a repetitive directional pattern, cracks that are clean and uniform in appearance, cracks that are wide enough to slip a quarter into, or excessive cracking may indicate more serious issues and will require further evaluation.
Crack Attack!- San Diego Home Inspection Steve Stenros is a CREIA MCI (Master CREIA Inspector) and ICC certified home inspector, and is the owner of First Choice Inspections, a San Diego home inspection company serving southern California. Clients receive a FREE lifetime appliance RecallChek with every standard home inspection. Steve can be reached at 888-335-3040.